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Shawcross 'preferred candidate' to be Charity Commission boss

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 01, 2012

Writer and broadcaster William Shawcross divides his time between London and St Mawes, on Cornwall's Roseland Peninsula

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Author and royal biographer William Shawcross, husband of Cornwall-based hotelier Olga Polizzi, is in the running to become head of the Charity Commission.

Mr Shawcross, who has lifelong links with Cornwall has been named as the Government's "preferred candidate" for the role.

If confirmed, Mr Shawcross would head the commission, the independent registrar and regulator of charities in England and Wales, for three years.

The Cabinet Office said in a statement: "Following an open recruitment exercise conducted in compliance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments principles, William Shawcross, has been selected as the Government's preferred candidate for appointment as the new chair of the Charity Commission.

"The Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude has now invited the Public Administration Select Committee to hold a pre-appointment hearing with William Shawcross.

"This will take place on September 5, 2012. The committee's conclusions will be carefully considered by the Government before a final decision on the appointment is made."

Mr Shawcross, 66, who divides his time between London and St Mawes, on the Roseland Peninsula, is a well-known and renowned writer and broadcaster.

He began his career in journalism in Czechoslovakia in 1968, and then worked as a war correspondent in South East Asia for the Sunday Times.

His articles have been published widely in the UK and the United States and elsewhere.

He has also lectured on geopolitics, South East Asia, refugees, the media and Al Qaeda. He was a board member of the International Crisis Group from 1995 to 2005 and a member of the Council of the Disasters Emergency Committee from 1997 to 2002.

Mr Shawcross has been a regular visitor to St Mawes since childhood, sleeping on one of the classic sailing boats owned by his yachting enthusiast father, Lord Shawcross, the former Attorney General and lead British prosecutor at the Nuremberg War Crimes tribunal.

Last year he was made a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order by the Queen, after he wrote the official biography of the Queen Mother.

The award, which recognises service to the Royal Family, is in the monarch's personal gift and is bestowed independently of 10 Downing Street.

"It's wonderful," he said at the time. "It's a joy to receive this obviously, but I'm very lucky. It's an extraordinary honour to have this from the Queen. It is the greatest honour one could ever imagine."

The request to write the book, chronicling the life of the royal, came directly from the Queen's private secretary and was published in 2009 after six years' work.

He has also written biographies of Rupert Murdoch and the last Shah of Iran.

If appointed, Mr Shawcross would succeed Dame Suzi Leather, an often outspoken critic of Government cuts and their impact on the voluntary sector.

The three-year role, which requires two days' work a week, has a salary of £50,000.

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